Award of 27th TT Chess Composition Microweb C 3.3.2010
(by Michal Dragoun)
Very shortly after deadline of the tourney I received from Juraj Lörinc 41 anonymized entries
(about the reason, why was this tourney devoted to problems with Leo, will write Juraj
himself - maybe :-)).
Intermezzo by JL: Well, it was already mentioned in the announcement, but why not. My
son Leo has not got his name quickly and it was quite a coincidence that the name of fairy
piece was chosen. My wife Hanka had had a set of favourites, I had had some too, but initially
the intersection of our favourite sets was empty. As time passed we have been considering
tips on names freely flowing around us and suddenly short name Leo was the one we have
been able to agree. Not Leopold, not Leonid, not Leonard, not even Slovak form Levoslav.
Leo. And only then I realized the chess composition related element...
By the way, during recent Slovak solving championship Michal has suggested name for our
second child, but Hanka has outright vetoed it. I wonder why she did not like beautiful name
Their quality was in my opinion average. After the first round of studying compositions I had
clear candidates for higher distinctions (in the final list prize and honourable mentions), but I
spent a lot of time with order a number of commendations. Finally I decided to award more
problems from the lower limit of possible candidates.
Judging the problems, I had to decide for myself one crucial question: when Leo instead of
Pao/Vao is used, is it a flaw? I think that for example using of Rookhopper or Bishophopper
instead of Grasshopper is still considered as "more fairy" (maybe because the basic unit
defined by T. R. Dawson is Grasshopper). The case of Chinese pieces is different and all of
them are considered on the same level (maybe because basic unit is Pao). So for this question
I decided to downgrade problems, where Leos are used instead of weaker Chinese pieces -
the degree of such downgrading was in specific cases different.
And what should I do when there are more Leos and only some of them could be replaced by
Paos/Vaos? On the one hand use of one type of fairy pieces contributes for clearness of the
problem and, let´s say, to "fairies economy". On the other hand, Leos are used instead of
weaker units and it looks like misconduct against usual criterion of economy. Surely some
specific cases could be found in favour of one or other point of view, but here in general I did
not consider using only some Leos instead of Pao and/or Vao as a flaw.
Before the award itself, some notes to not awarded problems. It is no surprise, that majority of
submitted problems are helpmates. Some of them showed only basic and well known mate by
antibattery Leo-Leo (using feature that black piece cannot shield its King because of check by
front Leo) or antibattery Leo-Leo-black piece (using opposite fact that black piece cannot
move away because of check by rear Leo). But when these mates are not enhanced by some
interesting play, it is too small for distinction - to this group belong compositions 1 [f4/h8,
h#2] and 5 [f6/e4, h#2]. Something very similar I have to write about problems with two
chameleon echo mates in shorter helpmate - there is couple of problems with three echo
mates (sure, it is harder to achieve soundness with Leo than with some other fairy pieces and
for that reason is Leo for "Bohemian" helpmates used only rarely), but such problems again
are usually not good enough to be in award (here I am writing about problems 15 [g4/e5, h#3]
and 22 [d4/f6, h#2,5]).
Problems 7 [-/a3, h#9] and 19 [-/d3, h#9] use excessive fairy conditions which are not
compensated by their content.
Between entries are in my opinion some groups of problems (or versions) composed by one
author: one of them consists in 5 [f6/e4, h#2] and 18 [f7/e5, h#2], the second one in 3 [a2/d5,
h#2,5], 13 [a2/c5, h#3] and 34 [h1/d4, h#2,5], and the third one in 6 [d2/g5, ser-h#12], 11
[e1/f3, ser-h#14], 30 [c5/d8, ser-h#12], 35 [c3/f8, ser-h#8] and 39 [h8/f6, ser-h#19]. In the
first group is 18 surely better, with three solutions with black blocks and mentioned
antibattery created from two Leos, but I disliked use of front Leo in A (no other piece can
move between him and black King) and square vacation for black Bishop in C compared with
line openings in A and B.
From other of these compositions I choose only the best one representative (in my subjective
meaning, of course). Maybe I am wrong, but I would not award weaker problems from these
groups anyway. Problem 16 [e1/a6, h#3] touches more as mechanical than analogic. 26
[g7/e3, h#3], showing Zilahi theme, is with all black moves by King quite mechanical too
(moreover bK is mated on the same square). 33 [b8/e2, h#2] has full analogy in black blocks
and creating of patrouille specific doublecheck mates, but the whole play is simple and there
is no interplay between both sides. Symmetry of problem 40 [b7/a4, #2] detracts, all keys pin
black Knight and the mechanism for Dombrovskis theme (by possibility or inpossibility to
capture by white Leo) could be used better. The tries in 41 [b1/d6, s#2] are not very attractive,
the same refutation is a weakness and changed continuations have mechanical character.
My ranking is as follows:
Prague, April 2010
1st Honourable Mention
27th TT Chess Composition Microweb
1...Bxe6 2.Sd6# A
1...Sf4 2.Se3# B
1.Rc6? th. 2.Rc5#
1...LEd5 2.Sd6# A
1...Sf4 2.Se3# B
1.Re4? th. 2.Sd6# A, 2.Se3# B
1.Se3+? A, 1...Kf4!
1.Sd6+? B, 1...Kxe6!
1.Re5+? C, 1...fxe5!
1.LEbc5? th. 2.Re5# C, 1...Kf4!
1.LEbb3? th. 2.Sd6# A
1...LEe5 x 2.Se3# B
1...Kf4 2.Re5# C
1.LEaa4! th. 2.Se3# B
1...LEe5 x 2.Sd6# A
In set play after two blocks White mates using specific Chinese line effects. These mates
reappear as threat and mate after defence 1.- LEe5 in try 1.LEbb3 and solution, thus showing
le-Grand theme, try 1.Re4 add specific Dombrovskis paradox (both threats are refuted by
move 1.- LEe5). Nice orthogonal-diagonal analogy in "main" try and solution, both giving a
flight. For perfection, there should be one more try (similar to 1.LEbc5? thr. 2.Re5X, 1.-
Kf4!) by move LEa2-g2 with guard of g file and threat 2.LE7f7X, refuted by 1.- Kxe6! with
Dombrovskis theme :-) Try 1.Rc6 enriches in my point of view the content only very little.
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